Sam Explains

Bury Me Deep

It’s Sam’s turn in the Great Switcheroo to share the 1991 Christopher Pike book Bury Me Deep. Jean is your average horned-up teenage girl who was written by an author who’s definitely human and totally understands how human girls work. Jean is excited for a trip to Hawaii with her friends, but finds herself delayed a few days for reasons too stupid to be real. Finally on the plane to Hawaii, the boy, Mike, in the seat next to Jean dies violently, leaving Jean shaken. But there’s no time for trauma when there are cute boys giving scuba diving lessons at the hotel, so Jean puts aside her experience and tires to enjoy the time with her friend Mandy and also Michelle, the random girl who just invited herself along on the vacation and now spends all her time locked in their shared hotel suite bedroom having sex with Dave, the older of the two diving instructors. Jean starts having spooky dreams about Mike, and is drawn to a particular underwater cave off the Island of Lanai. When Jean recklessly dives to the cave alone she finds a human skull and promptly freaks out. Neither of the cute instructors, Dave or Johnny, believe she saw the skull, and upon investigation Dave can’t find it in the cave. Is jean falling apart from her traumatic experience? Are Dave and Johnny more than simply cute dive instructors, and what happened to their missing partner Ringo (yes, Ringo)? What does any of this have to do with Mike? Will Mandy ever be treated with respect in this book? Help Sam solve this mystery (spoiler, it’s not that mysterious) in the conclusion of our first Great Switcheroo!

Knowing

This week Sam brings along Danielle on a trip through the Nic Cageiverse in the 2009 film Knowing. In 1959 a little girl scrawls a bunch of mystery numbers on a paper placed in a time capsule. This note is acquired by John (Nicholas Cage) fifty years later in the undetermined time period of “present day”, who, as a depressed astrophysicist, immediately cracks the code. The paper details the dates and locations of every massive disaster (supposedly) in the last fifty years. The real problem is that there are three disasters that are scheduled for the future in the next few days. John sets out to stop the disasters and utterly fails to prevent the first two. He then decides to learn more about the writer of the note by spending some time stalking a woman and her young daughter; a plan that works about as well as you’d expect. Suddenly there’s an apocalypse coming and the government knows but doesn’t seem to care and John can only think about how to save his son, who has started hearing mysterious whispers and seeing strange men following them. None of this really matters as the ending is wild and seems to render the whole movie pointless. However, Sam did manage to find a description for the movie that seems to have come from a parallel universe, and that really excites Danielle.

The Librarian: Quest for the Spear

This week Sam takes Danielle on an adventure through the 2004 made for TV movie The Librarian: Quest for the Spear. If you take Indiana Jones, mash it up with Warehouse 13, add Noah Wyle and a touch of historical mysticism, you’ll get something akin to The Librarian. Flynn is a perpetual student with an unbelievable 22 academic degrees, a fact Sam refuses to accept. When he’s forced out of school by his teacher, for some reason, he struggles to find purpose until a magic letter invites him to a job interview at a library. At the interview, Flynn spouts some nonsense and then a magical Bob Newhart as Judson appears from a wall to tell him he’s hired. Bob shows Flynn around the library, which is really more a heavily guarded museum of mystical artifacts, and also the Mona Lisa for some reason. This “secure” facility is immediately broken into by a librarian splinter group—which must the be the least intimidating kind of splinter group—and a piece of a powerful spear artifact is stolen. Instead of actually trying to recover the stolen spear piece, Flynn is instead sent to track down the two other spear pieces which, until now, have been safely hidden in other locations because the spear was too powerfully dangerous to be kept in one piece. Predictably, things don’t go smoothly as Flynn and his sexy bodyguard Nicole go to the Amazon to recover the spear, but Sam is more upset that they even lunched this unnecessary quest to begin with. Things only get more ridiculous as stupid evil plans collide with stupid good plans and no one seems to do any actual librarian work. All we can say is: Snake, Snake! Snake, Snake!

Warriors of Virtue

This week Sam takes Danielle on a mystical adventure through the 1997 movie Warriors of Virtue. Ryan Jeffers is an ordinary teenage boy who dreams of playing football and impressing girls. He also reads comics in his bathroom while home alone and hangs around at a Chinese restaurant’s kitchen with the chef who cooks with Kung Fu. This chef gives Ryan a mysterious scroll (which is actually a book) of Tao and some wise words of advice, then Ryan heads off to meet up with the cool kids who invited him out for an initiation that night. Ryan and the cool teens break into a building whose purpose is unclear, but there is a strange, open whirlpool in one room which Danielle is super excited about. Ryan falls into this whirlpool and is transported to the magical world of Tao which is under threat from the evil Komodo who wants to drain all the Life Springs of their energy sustaining element Zubrium so he can use it to stay young and powerful while the rest of the people in Tao die. Sam doesn’t get it either, but is all about the word Zubrium and Angus Macfadyen’s amazing acting choices as Komodo. Ryan eventually meets up with the titular Warriors of Virtues who are, in fact, Kung Fu Kangaroos and nothing has delighted Danielle or Sam more than that simple phrase. However, one of the five warriors has left to be a hermit in a swamp after failing to uphold the vow of never killing anyone. Now it’s up to Ryan to reunite the Warriors, mostly by berating them, and to try and find a way home all while learning absolutely no Kung Fu. You can also join Danielle’s quest to have a watch party where Sam re-dubs all the sound effects in the movie; he will not do a good job.

The Starlight Barking – Part 2

This week Sam shares the conclusion of the supremely weird 1967 Dodie Smith book The Starlight Barking. Pongo and his brood are still wrestling with what’s going on while the rest of the world, aside from dogs, sleeps. Finally deciding Cruella de Vil might be involved, the dogs, a cat, and Tommy sneak into her house, some with the intent of just straight-up murdering her. Although the air is filled with pepper, Cruella is asleep and the dogs are relieved that’s she not involved, and, much to Sam’s consternation, that’s the last we’ll hear of her during the story. Back at Downing Street, a mysterious light appears on the TV and commands all the dogs in England to appear in Trafalgar Square at midnight to receive an explanation for all the strange goings on. When asked questions, the voice provides answers that are less than useless before rushing off. At midnight, the dogs gathered in the Square experience euphoria and then utter terror as a bright light descends into the square. It’s the Lord of Sirius the dog star come to offer all the dogs a permanent home on Sirius to live forever in total bliss. The star lord’s reasons for making this offer are crazy, as is the stipulation that it will be an all-or-nothing deal so all dogs are to go or none at all. For some reason, the dogs elect Pongo to make the decision on their behalf. Despite all the supposedly high stakes, Danielle and Sam are really much more interested in the pressing question: What the heck happened to the missing Roly Poly?

The Starlight Barking – Part 1

This week Sam brings the little-known sequel to The Hundred and One Dalmatians, the 1967 Dodie Smith novel The Starlight Barking. Dalmatian heroes Pongo and Missis have retired to the countryside at Hell Hall with their massive brood, but Pongo is feeling restless for his previous life of adventure. That’s when he wakes one morning to find the entire world asleep except for dogs, and no amount of barking will wake any other creature. He and Missis venture forth to investigate, and find that doors and gates obligingly open for them as they approach. Soon they learn they can communicate telepathically with other dogs and float, a.k.a “swoosh”. At this point, Danielle is just about done with this nonsense. Still, Sam presses on and explains how all the dalmatians have been called to London to form a dalmatian army by their daughter Cadpig who, as the prime minister’s pet, is acting as the prime minister for dogs. There are still no clues as to why any of this has happened, but as the dogs enter London Pongo and Missis notice a sign for Cruella de Vil’s new business, leading Danielle and Sam to believe she’s somehow behind this. The dogs ignore this obvious threat and proceed to 10 Downing Street to partake in a cabinet meeting. Seriously, this is the most boring dog reaction to an apocalypse that has ever been. Danielle continues to spin her own theories as to what is happening since the dogs seem utterly uninterested in investigating on their own. Still, there’s a floating tractor and a young boy who speaks a kind of pidgin dog, so the book has that going for it.

My Video Game Ate My Homework

This week Sam shares the new graphic novel My Video Game Ate My Homework by Dustin Hansen. Dewey Jenkins is going to fail middle school and be forced into summer school unless he can get an A+ on his science fair project. It doesn’t hurt that first prize is an as yet unreleased Infinity Lens VR video game console. Unfortunately, his friend Ferg had been in the principal’s office and broke the console and has now brought it to Dewey to repair. After succeeding in his repairs, the console springs to life and straight-up steals Dewey’s science fair project and taunts him to retrieve it. At this point, Sam and Danielle agree that a video game that robs you is probably not going to be a massive sales success, and there must be some sinister corporate plot behind this. Despite these highly suspect circumstances, Dewey and his friends enter the virtual world and encounter some pretty trivial puzzles, though they do encounter some candle based spiders delightfully called pyrachnids that engage in a truly horrific practice of turning people into candles and slowly consuming them as they burn. After surviving all that the group faces off against the final boss: Dewey’s transformed science fair project, for some reason. While Danielle and Sam contemplate the worst things in their own homes for the game to steal, they’re just glad it didn’t take his dad’s chainsaw.

Evolution

This week Sam gives Danielle a crash course in fictional biology with the 2001 film Evolution. When a meteor strikes Earth carrying an alien goo which rapidly starts growing and evolving, it’s up to community college professors Ira Kane (David Duchovny) and Harry Block (Orlando Jones) to investigate and prevent the aliens from taking over the world. Only not really since they are woefully unqualified and unequipped the handle anything this important, thus the government quickly steps in with the help of CDC Deputy Director Dr. Allison Reid (Julianne Moore). Ira and Harry don’t give up, and, with the help of firefighter in training Wayne (Sean William Scott), are determined to take the glory of the alien discovery for themselves at any cost, often with a healthy dose of terrible science and misogyny, just because. Sam becomes increasingly irate as the film continually sprays bad science at him like shampoo through a fire hose, culminating in a solution so asinine it forces Sam to root for the military industrial complex. Danielle, meanwhile, is confused about when the rapidly evolving aliens could reach a point where humanity could parley with them, but is mostly upset that Dr. Reid ends up leaving her job for the utterly charmless Ira; we both think she can do better. So enjoy as Sam finds himself rooting strongly for the antagonists in a film that’s as fast and loose with its character development as it is with its science.

Be sure to check out I Drink Your Podcast which covers every film from 2007, especially the episode about Next featuring Danielle and Sam. You can find them on Twitter @IDYP_Podcast, Instagram @idyp_podcast, and listen wherever you get your podcasts.

Agent Cody Banks

This week Sam brings Danielle back to the heady days of 2003 with the movie Agent Cody Banks. Cody Banks (Frankie Muniz) is your average 15-year-old boy, except he was scooped up, in what has the be the most slipshod CIA training program ever, to become a youth agent. Why was Cody chosen for this prestigious role? We don’t know, and neither does the CIA. Nonetheless, when the evil organization E.R.I.S. is planning on using the nanobots invented by Dr. Albert Connors for…something evil probably, the CIA taps Cody to foil their evil plan. Using all the suave and subtlety of a teenage boy, Cody is to befriend Dr. Connor’s daughter Natalie (Hilary Duff) to secure an invention to her upcoming Las Vegas themed birthday party and attempt to…talk to Dr. Connors? Honestly, all the plans in this movie are as straightforward as an Escher drawing and not nearly as well composed. Now Cody must overcome his greatest weakness, talking to girls, and become the top agent the CIA has been training him to be for all of the past two summers so he can save the world (or something).

Correction: Hilary Duff did not appear in the sequel Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London. We regret the error and apologize to Ms. Duff and her family for any pain this characterization may have caused. Our bad.

Reign of Fire

On this episode Sam brings Danielle the 2002 box office bomb Reign of Fire. In the distant future year of 2020 dragons have been awoken from their cicada-like hibernation and have ravaged the earth, reducing humanity to a few pockets of life. Quinn (Christian Bale) leads one such colony in Northumberland, though food is scarce and there’s dissension in the ranks. None of that really matters as soon enough militia leader Denton Van Zan (Matthew McConaughey) shows up to rope Quinn into his quest to wipe out the source of the dragons: The single male dragon living in London. At this point, Sam cannot understand the biology of a species that only has one male capable of breeding, and how these same dragons were apparently responsible for wiping out the dinosaurs. Danielle, meanwhile, is more upset about the fact that the starving survivors let a perfectly good dragon carcass go to waste instead of just eating it. There’s also some tension between Quinn and his adopted son Jared about his joining Van Zan’s soldiers, but it’s over so quick Sam’s still not sure it wasn’t just a hallucination brought on by all the dragon special effects and dark lighting. Either way, the heroes square off against the dragon king in a battle that’s kinda lame, but does have a shirtless Matthew McConaughey wielding a battleaxe in one of the best scenes ever put to film, so it’s totally worth it.